1 Friday, 4 May 2007
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.07 a.m.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Good morning, everybody.
6 Madam Registrar, could you kindly call the case, please.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. This is the case
8 number IT-05-88-T, The Prosecutor versus Vujadin Popovic et al.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you.
10 For the record, all the accused are here except for General
11 Miletic, and for the record, also, he has communicated his waiver to the
12 Trial Chamber.
13 The Defence teams, I notice the absence of Mr. Bourgon. I also
14 notice the absence of Mr. Josse and Mr. Haynes. Do I take it that they
15 will be showing up later in the day? I take it that they are working on
16 other matters in the office.
17 Yes, Madam Nikolic.
18 MS. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] Mr. Bourgon will be joining us on
19 Monday, Your Honours.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. And Mr. Krgovic, Mr. Josse?
21 MR. KRGOVIC: [Interpretation] Mr. Josse will come after the first
23 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Thank you. And Mr. Sarapa.
24 UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: He will be joining us in the course of the
25 day. At the moment he's doing some other things at the office, but he
1 will be joining us later.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
3 From the Prosecution side, I see Mr. McCloskey and no one else.
4 So before we bring in the witness to start his evidence, yes, I
5 think we better go into private session for a couple of minutes. There's
6 something I need to explain to you.
7 [Private session]
7 [Open session]
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Madam Usher, you can admit the witness. In the
9 meantime, can you draw down the curtains until he comes in, he walks in
10 and takes his place.
11 Yes, Mr. McCloskey.
12 MR. McCLOSKEY: Pardon my slight appearance, but I apparently have
13 a skin ailment of some sort. It's not the result of violence, so
14 hopefully -- the doctor tells me it may come and go, but it's irritating
15 but shouldn't be a problem.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, we noticed that two days ago, as soon as you
17 walked in the courtroom, and we were concerned for you, Mr. McCloskey.
18 But any time you need a break or you need some medical attention, please
19 let us know and we'll look into that.
21 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Now, while we are waiting for the witness to
23 come in and take his seat, we have put in place voice distortion for this
24 witness, and therefore it is important that while he is addressing the
25 Chamber, all microphones, all other microphones except his, be kept
1 switched off. That's very important. So I will be keeping watch, keeping
2 an open eye, but I can't see everyone at the same time, so please try to
3 adhere to that rule.
4 [The witness entered court]
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Good morning to you, sir.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: On behalf of the Trial Chamber, my colleagues, Judge
8 Kwon, Judge Prost and Judge Stole, I wish to welcome you as a witness for
9 the Prosecution in this case.
10 You're familiar with the proceedings because you've already given
11 testimony before. Madam Usher is going to hand you now the text of a
12 solemn declaration that you are required to make before you start
13 testifying. Please read it out aloud, and that will be your solemn
14 undertaking with us that you will be testifying the truth.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
16 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
17 WITNESS: DRAZEN ERDEMOVIC
18 [The witness answers through interpreter]
19 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, sir. Please make yourself comfortable,
20 take a seat.
21 What's going to happen, very simply put, is the following:
22 Mr. McCloskey, who is lead counsel for the Prosecution in this case, will
23 be examining you in chief, asking you a series of questions which you are
24 about to answer truthfully. There is one -- he will then be followed by
25 the various members of the Defence teams on cross-examination.
1 I do not expect your testimony to finish today, but all
2 arrangements have been put in place to accommodate you over the weekend.
3 Now, before we continue, there's one thing I need to explain to
4 you. You have been indicted, you have pleaded guilty or entered a guilty
5 plea, you've been convicted and sentenced, so the usual caution that we
6 would give to witnesses who might tend to incriminate themselves if they
7 answer some of the questions put to you does not hold good in your case as
8 far as the events that we're talking about, the events in Srebrenica in
9 1995 are concerned. So your obligation is to answer each and every
10 question as it arises.
11 If you do have problems, please address the Trial Chamber and we
12 will try to deal with your remarks or complaints.
13 Have I made myself clear to you?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, thank you.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Thank you.
16 Mr. McCloskey, he is in your hands. Yes, Mr. Meek.
17 MR. MEEK: Mr. President, I direct you to line 17.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
19 MR. MEEK: Page 4. I don't believe that --
20 MR. OSTOJIC: Don't even say anything.
21 JUDGE KWON: It will be corrected later on.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Are you aware of what we're talking about,
23 Mr. McCloskey?
24 MR. McCLOSKEY: Yes. That's a very fine Polish investigator whose
25 name is on the screen. I don't know how he got up there.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. No, no. I just wanted to know whether it's
2 the case of redacting it or just correcting it.
3 MR. McCLOSKEY: I think we should just correct.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay, thank you. So it will be corrected later on.
5 Thank you, Mr. Meek, for pointing that out to us.
6 Mr. McCloskey, you may start and proceed.
7 MR. McCLOSKEY: Thank you, Mr. President. If, because of the
8 voice distortion, if I could be allowed to sit down so I get that mike
9 right, I would appreciate it.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Certainly, Mr. McCloskey.
11 MR. McCLOSKEY: Thank you.
12 Examination by Mr. McCloskey:
13 Q. Good morning, Mr. Erdemovic.
14 A. Good morning.
15 Q. Can you first just tell us your name, and spell your last for the
17 A. My name is Drazen Erdemovic, E-r-d-e-m-o-v-i-c.
18 Q. And where were you born and raised?
19 A. I was born in Tuzla. I grew up in Donja Dragunja, which is a
20 place next to Tuzla.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment, Mr. McCloskey. I notice Mr. Lazarevic.
22 What's the problem, Mr. Lazarevic?
23 MR. LAZAREVIC: I have just been informed by my client that they
24 are not receiving witness's voice in their real voice, and I'm not
25 receiving it either. I tried already to switch off to another channel,
1 but it doesn't work.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: We need the technicians to attend to this before we
3 can proceed.
4 Now, let's -- does this apply to all the accused? Are you all in
5 the same position or are some of you receiving the -- you are receiving
6 it? Mr. Popovic? Mr. Nikolic? No. Mr. Borovcanin? No. Mr. Gvero, are
7 you receiving?
8 THE ACCUSED GVERO: [Interpretation] Yes.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. So I think we need the witness to say
10 something else and check whether now the situation has been remedied.
11 Mr. Erdemovic, can I ask you to spell out your name again, please?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] E-r-d-e-m-o-v-i-c.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: I see at least two of the accused who are not
14 receiving it.
15 Mr. Lazarevic -- Madame Fauveau?
16 MR. LAZAREVIC: Fortunately, I have received it, but some of my
17 colleagues have not received it.
18 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] The Defence team does not receive it
19 either from -- none of the Defence teams are receiving it, from what I
20 could understand.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: I understand that is as far as the B/C/S. I suppose
22 you are on the right channel, all of you. I mean, I can't imagine you not
23 to be after all these months.
24 [Trial Chamber confers]
25 JUDGE AGIUS: So let's hope this technical hitch is solved at the
1 earliest. At least can you receive -- at least can you receive
2 interpretation of what I am saying in your own language? Colonel Beara
3 is -- yes.
4 Can I ask the accused to speak again, say something -- the witness
5 to say something? Where were you born?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I was born in Tuzla, and I lived in
7 Donja Dragunja.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: May I ask you, Mr. Lazarevic, whether you received --
9 MR. LAZAREVIC: I'm afraid not.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: What is the problem?
11 A/V TECHNICIAN: Sorry. Can I ask B/C/S booth to speak, please?
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Did you hear the B/C/S booth, Mr. Lazarevic?
13 MR. LAZAREVIC: Your Honour, no one is speaking anything on B/C/S,
14 so we cannot be sure whether we receive it or not.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Is it okay now, Mr. Borovcanin?
16 THE ACCUSED BOROVCANIN: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I hear the
17 witness now, but we do not hear now the interpretation from the English.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: I think what I suggest is that --
19 [Trial Chamber confers]
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Let's try and have a three-minute break. In
21 the meantime, the witness can remain in the courtroom.
22 [Trial Chamber confers]
23 JUDGE AGIUS: The break is intended for everyone except the
24 interpreters for the time being, because we need you to remain in your
25 place so that we can try and fix this problem.
1 Mr. Borovcanin, are you receiving now an interpretation of what I
2 now have been saying?
3 THE ACCUSED BOROVCANIN: [Interpretation] No.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. What we are going to have, let's have a
5 break. We are all going to stay here while this problem is being fixed.
6 [Discussion off the record]
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. I just want to make sure also that they are
8 receiving an interpretation of what I am saying now. Okay? Thank you.
9 May I ask the B/C/S-speaking counsel to follow Mr. Krgovic? I
10 just want to make sure that the B/C/S-speaking components of the Defence
11 teams can follow now the interpretation and also the direct.
12 Mr. Sarapa.
13 MR. SARAPA: I have translation, but I have no B/C/S.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: He is not receiving anything.
15 MR. KRGOVIC: [Interpretation] I can follow both B/C/S and
17 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. And you, too, Mr. Lazarevic?
18 MR. LAZAREVIC: So far I'm just receiving B/C/S translation. I
19 just have to check whether -- yes, whether --
20 UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: Now it's okay.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: And you, Mr. Lazarevic?
22 MR. LAZAREVIC: Nothing, I'm afraid.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. I hear no more complaints. Let's revert
24 to open session now. It seems to be working fine now? Okay.
25 Can I express the Trial Chamber's gratitude for your prompt
1 assistance and very efficient one, for that matter, too. Thank you.
2 So we can now proceed. Mr. McCloskey. If the problem reoccurs,
3 please draw our attention straightaway.
4 MR. McCLOSKEY:
5 Q. All right. Well, let's try again.
6 Can you tell us what your ethnicity is?
7 A. Bosnian Croat.
8 Q. All right. Now, I am going to briefly outline some of the history
9 of your legal -- your legal history here, as briefly mentioned by the
11 On 14 January 1998, did you enter a guilty plea to one count of
12 violation of article 3, a violation of the laws and customs of war?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Was this pursuant to a plea agreement with the OTP?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And were the facts underlying the charge you pled guilty to
17 involving, well, your involvement and participation in the summary
18 execution of Muslim men from Srebrenica on 16 July 1995?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. And on March 5th, 1998, were you sentenced by a Trial Chamber of
21 this Tribunal to five years in prison?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. And at this time, you have served your sentence; is that correct?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And you have testified in the rule 61 hearing, in the Krstic
1 trial, in the Milosevic trial; is that correct?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. And do you know that your testimony in the Krstic trial was placed
4 into evidence in the trial of Blagojevic and Jokic?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. All right. Can you tell us what you were trained to do as you
7 went through your secondary schooling?
8 A. I went to a mechanical school, mechanical engineering school in
9 Tuzla and graduated as a locksmith.
10 Q. In what year were you born?
11 A. I was born on the 25th November 1971.
12 Q. And did you do compulsory service in the JNA?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Can you tell us when that was?
15 A. That was from December, 1990 until end March, 1992.
16 Q. And what position did you have in the JNA?
17 A. I was in the military police.
18 Q. Now, after leaving the JNA, you have testified and stated many
19 times that you were then in the ABiH and then the HVO and finally in the
20 VRS. Can you give us just a brief outline --
21 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I believe there are
22 some accused who are unable to hear.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: General Gvero? Thank you, Madame Fauveau.
24 THE ACCUSED GVERO: [Interpretation] Your Honours, it broke down
25 now, so I cannot hear the interpretation of what the Prosecutor is saying.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, General Gvero, for pointing that out in a
2 prompt manner.
3 Can I ask you to repeat your question again? Say something to see
4 whether this was transient or whether it's still there.
5 MR. McCLOSKEY: Can you hear me all right? Are you getting my
6 words in Serbian?
7 JUDGE AGIUS: General Gvero, you're still not receiving
9 THE ACCUSED GVERO: [Interpretation] No. I can hear it, but the
10 sound is very low, so I don't really get the meaning. It is so barely
11 audible that I cannot really make anything out.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Can someone help General Gvero maybe increase the
13 sound level? Can you receive interpretation now? Is it better?
14 THE ACCUSED GVERO: [Interpretation] I can hear you, but I don't
15 know whether I'll hear the Prosecutor.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: He's got a stronger voice than mine, but let's see.
17 Mr. McCloskey, I think you're called to the cause again.
18 MR. McCLOSKEY: Testing 1, 2, 3. Can you hear me now?
19 THE ACCUSED GVERO: [Interpretation] It's good now.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, General Gvero, and I thank you for your
21 patience, Mr. McCloskey.
22 You may proceed. Make sure that all microphones are switched off,
23 please. Go ahead.
24 MR. McCLOSKEY:
25 Q. Now, Mr. Erdemovic, again, could you give us just a brief outline
1 of what you did after the JNA to be involved in the ABiH, the HVO and the
2 VRS, just briefly so we can set the scene for the 1995?
3 A. When I returned from military service in the JNA to my hometown,
4 the conflicts had already started in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Mobilisation
5 calls started first into the Territorial Defence and later the Army of
6 Bosnia and Herzegovina was established. I then received a call-up to join
7 the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina and I responded. I wasn't there for a
8 long time. I was a scout with a mortar detail on Mount Mijovica.
9 In October of the same year, 1992, I joined the military police of
10 the HVO. I didn't stay there long, either, until November, 1993, when I
11 transferred to Republika Srpska.
12 In Republika Srpska, I did not join the VRS immediately. I moved
13 to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia because of the problems that
14 soldiers in Republika Srpska were creating for me.
15 I joined the VRS in 1994. I believe it was in the month of
16 April. It was a unit newly established, comprising eight to ten men under
17 the command of the Main Staff or, rather, the Security Service of the Main
18 Staff of the VRS.
19 Q. What was the name of that unit at that time that you joined
20 in '94?
21 A. To the best of my recollection, it was simply called "Special
22 Unit." It didn't have a particular name.
23 Q. And did it later become something else or get another name and
24 develop further?
25 A. Yes, it did. I believe in October, 1994, it was named 10th
1 Sabotage Detachment, and it grew to a number of 50 or 60 men. It had two
2 platoons, one in Vlasenica and one in Bijeljina.
3 Q. All right. I know I asked you to give a brief outline, and I
4 appreciate that, but let me go back just for a little more detail.
5 Can you tell us how it was -- why did you leave the ABiH and then
6 why did you join up with the HVO?
7 A. Because I was tired of being in the battlefield, and a chance
8 opened up for me to be with the military police and spend more time at
10 Q. At that time, the HVO and the ABiH were on the same side?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. All right. And can you tell us the circumstances surrounding your
13 leaving the HVO? Why did you end up leaving the army?
14 A. In the place where I used to live in Tuzla, the population was
15 mixed. There were Muslims, Croats and Serbs. My Serb neighbours did not
16 feel free to live there, and they asked me to help them cross a line on
17 Mount Mijovica that I knew very well because it was the line where the
18 HV -- it was the defence line facing Republika Srpska. In fact, they
19 asked me to help them cross over to Republika Srpska, and that's what I
20 did. But in doing that, I was arrested, but I cannot tell you exactly how
21 many Serbs. I was arrested, in fact, with that group of Serbs whom I was
22 supposed to help cross over, and the HVO arrested me. I was interrogated,
23 mistreated. That's it.
24 Q. All right. And given that history, how was it that the VRS
25 accepted you? Can you give us the -- I know that can be a long tale, but
1 can you give us the abbreviated version of how that occurred?
2 A. First of all, I was in detention, detained by the Army of
3 Bosnia-Herzegovina, and then they moved me to a detention unit held by the
4 HVO. I talked to the commander of the military police whom I knew well,
5 and I asked him to release me to go home to have a shower, have a change
6 of clothes. He let me go, and I decided to cross over again to the side
7 of Republika Srpska, to the Army of Republika Srpska, but I didn't know
8 what would happen to me. Nobody was saying anything, nobody was
9 explaining anything. I didn't know why I was kept in detention, because
10 in my own understanding, I hadn't done anything bad. I just tried to help
11 some people cross over to the side of Republika Srpska.
12 And then I decided to cross over to Republika Srpska myself,
13 because I knew that I hadn't done any wrong to Serbs, and I believe -- I
14 believed that they would tell the truth. That's how I decided to move to
15 Republika Srpska.
16 Q. Okay. And how was it that you signed up for the VRS, then?
17 A. Well, at the outset from November, 1993 until April, 1994, I had
18 problems with certain units in Republika Srpska that were made up mostly
19 of refugees from the area of Tuzla, and that's why I went to the Federal
20 Republic of Yugoslav.
21 However, there, in January and February, 1994, they started to
22 mobilise Bosnian citizens who were fit for the battlefield, so I had no
23 choice but to return to Republika Srpska.
24 Before I arrived, I heard in Bijeljina that a unit was
25 established, made up of Croats, Muslims and one Slovene, so I went to the
1 military department in Bijeljina and they agreed that the best thing for
2 me to do would be to join that unit because there are other people of my
3 ethnicity in that unit, and that's how I decided to join that unit.
4 Q. And that's the unit that became the 10th Sabotage Unit; is that
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. All right. Let's go now to 1995. You've told us that there was
8 two platoons of that unit, one in Vlasenica and one in Bijeljina. Which
9 one were you in?
10 A. The one in Bijeljina.
11 Q. And roughly how many men did that unit have at that -- in 1995?
12 A. You mean the whole unit or just the Bijeljina platoon?
13 Q. Just the Bijeljina platoon.
14 A. Around 30.
15 Q. Do you know roughly how many the Vlasenica platoon had at that
17 A. I don't know exactly, but I believe around the same.
18 Q. And can you tell us, in 1995 what was the command structure of the
19 unit? And start with the most highest-ranking people you know. You've
20 said it was part of the Main Staff. Who, if anyone, did you know that had
21 supervisory responsibility over the 10th Sabotage in 95?
22 A. Well, from what I know and from what I was able to gather, Colonel
23 Petar Salapura was the main man for our unit, was in charge of our unit.
24 I knew that even back in 1994 when we were just eight or ten men. He came
25 for meetings with us, and I saw him around, so it was Colonel Salapura.
1 And then later I met Major Pecanac, and I just know his nickname.
2 I have to say this in English.
3 Q. What was his nickname, then?
4 A. Pecanac.
5 Q. All right. And what other command figures did you know?
6 A. The commander of our unit was Second Lieutenant Milorad Pelemis.
7 Q. And were you aware of what part of the Main Staff Salapura was
9 A. Yes. He belonged to the Security Service. I know that he
10 belonged to the Security Service of the Main Staff.
11 Q. Do you make any distinction between the Intelligence Service and
12 the Security Service?
13 A. Yes, but in our former country it all fit into the Security
15 Q. All right. So let me ask you now, can you tell us, specifically
16 in 1995, what was the function of this unit of -- in your platoon and the
17 other platoon? What were you trained to do?
18 A. We were trained for sabotage jobs, going behind enemy lines,
19 destroying hangars holding ammunition, setting explosives to blow up
20 large-calibre weapons, destroying bridges. Sabotage activities.
21 Q. Leading up to 1995 and in 1995, were you involved in various
22 operations like that?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Let me ask you about one in particular that you've talked about
25 before. I believe -- did you go into -- make some kind of a foray into
1 Srebrenica through a tunnel?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Can you tell us when you did that, how many people, and what the
4 purpose of that was?
5 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment before you answer.
6 The question may present some lack of clarity. How many people,
7 what do you mean? How many people were they in his contingent that took
8 part in this foray, or do you mean to ask him something else?
9 MR. McCLOSKEY: I'll clarify that, Mr. President. Thank you.
10 Q. First of all, let me break it down a little bit. How many people
11 were set aside to go on this mission from your unit?
12 A. I cannot remember precisely how many people there were, but most
13 of the men from my unit were there, as well as the men from the Bijeljina
14 platoon and from the Vlasenica platoon. It was in March, 1995, if my
15 memory serves me well.
16 Q. So roughly how many men from the 10th Sabotage Detachment were
17 involved in this?
18 A. Around 30. I cannot remember precisely, but I think it was around
19 30 men, maybe a bit more. I can't remember better.
20 Q. And did you have any assistance from men from any other VRS units?
21 A. Yes. We had men from the Bratunac Brigade or Unit, I can't
22 remember exactly, but I believe they were from the Bratunac Brigade
23 because they knew the mine well, and then Pelemis said they would guide us
24 through that mine, that they know the mine, because there are many
25 different passages and we needed guidance in order not to get lost.
1 Q. And what was this operation, what was the purpose of the
3 A. The purpose of that operation, from what I was told, was that we
4 get in and try to start a mutiny in the ranks of the Army of Bosnia and
5 Herzegovina that was in Srebrenica.
6 Q. When you say "get in," what do you mean?
7 A. I don't quite understand.
8 Q. Get in where, when you say "get in"?
9 A. To get into the town of Srebrenica through the mine and, what do I
10 know, fire a couple of grenades from hand-held launchers, to fire at
11 certain targets where it was believed that there were troops of the Army
12 of Bosnia and Herzegovina, to try to create mutiny and insurgency so that
13 they should surrender and stop fighting for Srebrenica.
14 Q. Okay. And tell us about how the project turned out, how this
15 operation went off, just briefly what you guys did.
16 A. We got to an elevation above the town, overlooking the town. We
17 fired a couple of projectiles, I don't know exactly how many, from
18 hand-held launchers, and then we were shown where the command of Nasir
19 Oric was supposed to be, so we fired at that target. It didn't last long,
20 maybe 10 or 15 minutes, before we pulled out and went back to Bratunac
21 again through the tunnel.
22 Q. So did it go off as planned or did you leave for some unforeseen
24 A. No, I don't know of any reason why we would have had to pull out.
25 There was no firing back from the other side.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: What Mr. McCloskey meant to ask you is: Do you
2 consider it to have been a mission completed successfully or not?
3 A. Did I consider it? Of course I did, but I don't know what the
4 command decided about this.
5 MR. McCLOSKEY:
6 Q. As far as you knew, had you done what you were supposed to -- had
7 the unit done what it was supposed to do?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Okay. And so let me take the opportunity here to ask you a couple
10 of issues related to the practice or policy of your unit.
11 Now, when you go into enemy lines, you obviously go through the
12 territory of the Republika Srpska through the zone of responsibility of
13 some VRS unit. When you did that, what, if you know, was the practice of
14 informing or not informing the military authority of that unit that you
15 would have been passing through?
16 A. Yes, I know that we had to inform the units that were holding
17 those lines that we were going to be going on some actions in their area
18 of responsibility.
19 Q. Do you know if your commanders had to tell the commanders of that
20 unit what exactly you'd be doing in the enemy territory?
21 A. No. From what I know, they just had to inform the command of the
22 unit that was holding the line of responsibility, but no one was told
23 about the kind of assignment that was to be carried out. Only our command
24 knew what kind of action was involved.
25 Q. Okay. Now, let's go to July of 1995, and at some point did you
1 receive word that you were being charged with going to Srebrenica?
2 A. On the 10th of July, since our company was in the Bijeljina
3 barracks, it was our duty every morning at 8.00 a.m. to appear -- well, if
4 you want me to put it that way. It was like reporting to work. When I
5 came to the barracks, I was told that we were going out on an assignment,
6 that I should go home, that I needed to bring another uniform and
7 everything else that I needed, personal hygiene kit and so on. I wasn't
8 told then that we were going towards Srebrenica, but later that day I
9 found out that we were going to Srebrenica.
10 Q. What kind of uniforms did the 10th Sabotage have at that time?
11 A. We had a black uniform, a uniform of the Army of Republika Srpska,
12 a uniform of the US Army, and we had a uniform that was worn by the Army
13 of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the HVO.
14 Q. And were you told or ordered what uniform to take on this
15 operation on 10 July?
16 A. No. I think I was wearing the black uniform, and then I went home
17 and I put the uniform that the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the
18 Croatian Defence Council wore.
19 Q. And when did you find out what this operation would be about?
20 A. When we arrived at Bratunac with our own vehicle, we -- when we
21 got to Bratunac, we stopped in front of some prefabricated huts or shacks,
22 and we learned that some people from Vlasenica were going to arrive and
23 that together we would be going to Srebrenica.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: Before you proceed, Mr. McCloskey, could you please
25 ask the witness these questions? First, in relation to the black uniform,
1 whether that also carried any insignia. And same question in relation to
2 the uniform -- other uniform that he put on, that is the one of the Army
3 of Republika Srpska, did it carry the insignia of that army as well, did
4 it show any insignia of that army as well? Thank you.
5 MR. McCLOSKEY: Thank you, Mr. President.
6 Q. First, can you describe the black uniform and whether it had any
7 insignia on it?
8 A. The black uniform was just overalls, and we had insignia that
9 could be transferred from one uniform to another. It was the insignia of
10 the 10th Sabotage Detachment.
11 Q. All right. And how about the camouflage uniform, the regular VRS
12 uniform, did it have any insignia or can you describe that?
13 A. It was a regular two-piece VRS uniform, and as I said, we had one
14 insignia each that we were issued with, and we could move that or transfer
15 that from one uniform to another. Mostly, when we went out on sabotage
16 actions, we would wear no insignia. We would leave everything, insignia,
17 our military booklet and all the other documents that we had, behind.
18 Q. Do you remember if you wore any insignia on the Srebrenica
19 operation of July 10th?
20 A. I think that I did have the insignia of the 10th Sabotage
21 Detachment, and I think that on my right soldier I had a red ribbon or
22 band, and I think we were given that when we got to the hill above
23 Srebrenica on the 10th of July.
24 Q. Have you had a chance to see still photographs of video of the
25 Srebrenica operation where your colleagues were in both those uniforms?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. And we'll be having some exhibits a little later, so you can
3 describe that in more detail.
4 Can you tell us how many -- you may have said this, but as you
5 arrived in Bratunac, how many men were in your unit and what was the
6 command structure? Who was there in command?
7 A. When we came to Bratunac, the people from Vlasenica still hadn't
8 come. Franc Kos was in charge of our detachment. He waited for the
9 others to arrive from Vlasenica and probably for Pelemis to come or Major
10 Pecanac to issue further orders to us.
11 Q. And did they finally arrive?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. And when the Vlasenica group arrived, how many -- roughly how many
14 total, were now from your group, the Bijeljina and the Vlasenica group,
15 how many total 10th Sabotage people were there assembled there in
16 Bratunac, I take it?
17 A. I think that there were between 30 and 50 persons. I can't
18 remember exactly, because some people from my unit were on another
19 assignment. Between 30 and 40 persons, something like that.
20 Q. And who was in command?
21 A. When the rest arrived from Vlasenica, Lule, that's his nickname, I
22 only knew his nickname, he had more information about what would happen
24 Q. And what about Pelemis; did he show up?
25 A. Yes, but Pelemis came later when we were already on the road to
2 Q. All right. And what information did you learn from the person you
3 know as Lule?
4 A. Since most of us got there by buses, they told us that trucks
5 would be arriving to take us to Srebrenica, and not long after that this
6 happened. I can't remember exactly, I can't explain exactly, but we
7 didn't take the asphalt road. We went through woods, over hills. They
8 were using hilly-terrain vehicles from the former JNA.
9 Q. Let me take you briefly back to this prefab building that you
10 talked about that was in Bratunac. Do you know what kind of facility that
11 was, military or civilian?
12 A. From what I could see, it was a civilian facility, but it was used
13 for military purposes.
14 Q. All right. And about roughly what time of day did you start off
15 from Bratunac and go through the woods towards Srebrenica? This would be
16 on the -- still on the 10th of July, I take it.
17 A. Yes. It was late afternoon. I can't remember the exact time. It
18 was late afternoon.
19 Q. And where did you go that late afternoon through those woods
20 towards Srebrenica?
21 A. Yes, we went towards Srebrenica. I didn't know the terrain
22 enough, but later I found out that, well, we came from the southern side
23 of Srebrenica. We passed through the UN check-point. There was no one
24 there. Then we continued towards Srebrenica, and we only stopped when we
25 came to an elevation above Srebrenica town itself.
1 Q. And what happened that evening of the 10th, if anything?
2 A. Pelemis appeared, and he told us that we were going to spend the
3 night at the elevation above Srebrenica and that most probably our unit
4 would be the first to enter the town of Srebrenica the next day, not that
5 night. We were not going to do anything that night. We were to rest, and
6 then in the morning we would set off to capture the town of Srebrenica.
7 Q. Did he give you an idea of what kind of resistance was expected?
8 A. I can say I think that he didn't tell us at that time what exactly
9 was expected, but he told us that the next morning, when we were preparing
10 to go into the town.
11 Q. Can you tell us roughly how many kilometres or less you were from
12 the town of Srebrenica when you started off, just roughly so we can get a
14 A. How do you mean, when I left from Bratunac or when we set off in
15 the morning on the 11th towards the town?
16 Q. When you set off on the 11th towards Srebrenica.
17 A. I think that that was already the outskirts of Srebrenica. I
18 think that we were not really -- we're not talking kilometres here. These
19 were the outskirts of Srebrenica, one of the suburbs.
20 Q. Did you receive any fire from the enemy on the night of the 10th
21 or the early morning hours of the 11th before you actually set off?
22 A. No, there was no firing; maybe here and there, but there was no
23 fierce fighting or shooting.
24 Q. Now, I had interrupted you when you told us that Pelemis had, that
25 morning of the 11th, told you something about what sort of resistance to
1 expect. Can you tell us what he told you?
2 A. He told us that we could expect strong resistance and that most
3 probably, according to their information, the first resistance encountered
4 could be around the first mosque as you went down into the town, which was
5 in the southern part of the town. And he told us that we should call the
6 civilian population to come out of their houses because we had to search
7 the houses, and we were to send them to the stadium which was in front of
8 us, in the direction that we were going.
9 Q. Did he give you any other special instructions about how to treat
11 A. Yes. He said that we were not to shoot at the civilians in any
12 case and that we were to direct them in front of us towards the stadium.
13 Q. And at that time did he or did you get -- well, did he give you
14 any -- did Pelemis give you any information about any other units that
15 would be joined with you on the attack or that were adjacent to you?
16 A. That morning, he also told us that our unit, because we were the
17 first to enter the town, would be joined by 15 persons from the Drina
18 Wolves, and he told us -- he explained to us that the other units, once we
19 started to descend into the town, would be giving us support, and then
20 once we get into the town, they will start to come down from the
21 elevations around Srebrenica. I cannot recall exactly. He said that the
22 units from Bratunac, Milici -- I can't remember which other units he
23 mentioned. I think I remember well the ones from Bratunac and Milici.
24 Q. What was your knowledge of what the Drina Wolves were?
25 A. According to what I heard, I'm not sure, because I didn't have
1 access to the unit, and until then I had never been in contact with that
2 unit. I think that it was perhaps also a special unit of the Drina Corps,
3 something like that.
4 Q. Was there a man that you knew was associated with that unit, or a
5 nickname of a man?
6 A. Yes, Legenda.
7 Q. And what was Legenda?
8 A. On the basis of what I heard, I don't know exactly, but I heard
9 that he was the commander of the unit, of the Drina Wolves.
10 Q. Can you describe briefly what happened that morning as you set off
11 towards Srebrenica? We're now on the morning of 11 July.
12 A. As I already said, we divided into groups. Pelemis also went with
13 us that morning into the town. Perhaps it was already noon. I don't know
14 exactly. For me, it was still morning. And he told us that we would be
15 joined by the people from the Drina Wolves. As I already said, that we
16 shouldn't shoot for no reason, that we should be calling to the people to
17 come out of their houses. He told us not to fire at civilians. Again, it
18 was explained that most probably there would be major resistance and that
19 we would be the first unit to descend into the town.
20 I don't know exactly when we set off for the town. We set off
21 from the elevation at the southern side of Srebrenica, and to my surprise,
22 there was -- there were no major obstacles as we were passing through the
23 town. We came up against -- or we encountered civilians who were
24 elderly. They had problems walking and so on.
25 Q. Had you ever been involved in an assault like this on a -- you
1 know, a joint effort, as opposed to the sabotage missions you've
3 A. No, but the people from Vlasenica who joined us had such
4 assignments before joining our unit.
5 Q. Okay. So what happens next as you encounter these older
7 A. As I already said, Pelemis said that the first stronger resistance
8 could appear near the first mosque. However, we reached that mosque, some
9 elderly people, a few of them, came out of the houses, and we just told
10 them that they should be walking in front of us and that nothing would
11 happen to them, they should just walk in front of us.
12 One of the soldiers, I can't remember exactly who, but I think it
13 was Velimir Popovic, there was a flag on the mosque. He went and he took
14 the flag down from the mosque. And we continued towards the town. Here
15 and there, there was sporadic firing, but nothing dangerous.
16 Q. And did you come across any military-aged men at some point,
18 A. When we reached that -- what I thought to be the center of town,
19 there were already buildings in the town. There was a mosque there as
20 well. A person appeared, and from what I could see it seemed to be an
21 able-bodied person who could be in the army. He came out, surrendered,
22 and said that he was not in the army, that he had no problems with Serbs,
23 had nothing against Serbs, something like that. I can't remember exactly
24 the words. And then the people who had already started to come down from
25 the surrounding hills -- we were already in the center of town. There was
1 no fierce fighting, so they started to mistreat him. And not long after
2 that, Pelemis ordered one of the soldiers from Vlasenica to go and kill
3 that person.
4 Q. When you say the people that came down from the hills started to
5 mistreat him, which -- specifically, which people do you mean so we get a
6 better idea?
7 A. Soldiers of Republika Srpska.
8 Q. Did you actually hear Pelemis order that this Muslim man be
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. And did Pelemis give this order to anyone in particular?
12 A. Yes. It was a soldier from the Vlasenica platoon. His name is
13 Zoran. I know his nickname, Maljic, but I don't know his surname.
14 Q. And what happened when Pelemis gave Zoran this order?
15 A. What happened was that Zoran went off immediately and slit the
16 throat of that man.
17 Q. And where did this occur?
18 A. In the square, from what I could tell, in the center of town.
19 Q. What, if anything, was done with the man's body?
20 A. Nothing was done at that point in time. Later, I returned to the
21 southern side because Pelemis and -- told me and a few other people from
22 my unit to return to that position where we entered town and to wait there
23 until -- well, to secure the entrance to the town and to let him know when
24 General Mladic passes through, which is what we did.
25 I don't know what happened later with the body of that man. I
1 didn't -- I wasn't in that place anymore to be able to see what had
3 Q. Can you tell us about roughly what time that murder occurred?
4 A. I don't know exactly. It was perhaps between 1.00 and 2.00 p.m.
5 on that day. I don't know.
6 Q. Can you tell us roughly about what time you took up this position
7 that Pelemis told you about, to wait to inform him of when Mladic came
9 A. It could have been about 2.00 or 3.00. I don't know. I cannot
10 remember the exact time.
11 Q. And did Mladic come through that day?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Do you remember roughly, again just roughly, I know this -- what
14 time Mladic came through?
15 A. I don't remember the exact time, but I know that it wasn't much
16 later after we returned to that position.
17 Q. And how did he travel through? Was he in vehicles or on foot?
18 A. Vehicles passed. I think there were three vehicles. Mladic was
19 in the first one. I think there was a Praga, that's what we called it in
20 the army, that was going or moving ahead.
21 MR. McCLOSKEY: All right. Mr. President, this might be a good
22 time to take a break.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Let's have a 25-minute break starting from now.
24 Thank you.
25 --- Recess taken at 10.29 a.m.
1 --- On resuming at 11.00 a.m.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: For the record, Mr. Haynes has -- is now present in
3 the courtroom.
4 Mr. McCloskey.
5 MR. McCLOSKEY: Thank you, Mr. President.
6 Q. Mr. Erdemovic, before we continue the -- with the events from 11
7 July, I want to go back to a topic, and I know it's been a long time since
8 you've thought and talked about a lot of this material, so I want to read
9 you a couple of answers that you have given on a topic and see if that
10 helps refresh your recollection. It's about the position of Mr.
12 So let's just take a second here, and I'm sure you recall speaking
13 to Jean Rene Ruez, well, a few times, but I'm speaking of the April, 1996
14 interview, and he asked you at one point:
15 "Do you know who was above Lieutenant Pelemis?"
16 This is page 8 of the English. And your answer was: "Colonel
18 And Mr. Ruez said:
19 "Colonel Salapura was constantly present inside the unit or did he
20 only appear in some specific circumstances?"
21 Your answer was:
22 "He was in the Intelligence Centre of the main chief command and
23 we saw him very rarely and only on specific occasions."
24 Now, let me go to the Krstic trial of 22 May where Mr. Harmon
25 asked you the following on page 3079:
1 "I'd like you to then identify some of the hierarchy of the 10th
2 Sabotage Detachment as you knew it in July of 1995. Could you please tell
3 us, from the highest levels working down to the level of Franc Kos and
4 Lule, what was the reporting chain of command?"
5 And your answer was:
6 "As far as I know, in the first place there was Colonel Salapura
7 from the Main Staff, the Intelligence Centre. He was there from the
8 beginning, when there were eight of us, and later on as well."
9 Having heard that, does that refresh your recollection a bit
10 better about the position of Salapura?
11 A. Yes. What I said here this morning earlier, I was trying to find
12 the words in Serbo-Croatian to explain it, but unfortunately, I have
13 little contact nowadays with people who speak Serbo-Croatian, and I have
14 difficulty finding the words, and that's why I was trying to find the
15 simplest way of putting things.
16 But that's correct, he was with the Intelligence Centre, and the
17 Security Service is the same thing for me, because when I was with the
18 JNA, it used to be the Security Service, and we used to call all the
19 people engaged in intelligence work security men.
20 Q. All right. But you can be clear now that you have said to
21 Mr. Ruez, you've testified -- in fact, I think you've always said that
22 Mr. Salapura was an intelligence officer. Is that your memory now?
23 A. Yes, I remember that. But as I said, I tried to formulate that
24 earlier this morning. I couldn't remember the word.
25 Q. Okay, no problem. Now, I believe we left off where you had said
1 that General Mladic did go through your check-point in the southern part
2 of town in vehicles. Can you just describe to us briefly what happened
3 the rest of that day on the 12th, if anything in particular? Excuse me,
4 that's the 11th.
5 A. The 11th. Well, not much was happening, as far as my unit is
6 concerned. Most of us remained closer to the south side of the town,
7 looking from the center, where we set up that check-point, a security
8 check-point, so that General Mladic can enter the town in safety. At one
9 point, one of my colleagues and I set out towards the center, and then we
10 encountered several soldiers from my unit, and there were also several
11 persons whom I didn't know. They were drinking Sljivovica from a plastic
12 jerry can. We started talking. One of the soldiers who belonged to my
13 unit gave me a -- or rather gave that person at the check-point a
14 hand-held launcher, the person whom I didn't know.
15 I asked him, "Why did you give that to him?" And he said, "He's
16 going to be retired soon." And I asked, "Who is it?" And they answered
17 that it was General Zivanovic. One person from my unit said, "He's not a
18 general, he's a drunk."
19 Q. All right. And what else happened that day?
20 A. Then I heard that some of the units asked Pelemis about checking
21 that mine, one entrance to which was in Srebrenica and the other entrance
22 was on the Bratunac side. I cannot recall the name now, but one of the
23 commanders of a brigade from the Zvornik Corps asked Pelemis, since we
24 already knew that mine, that our unit be assigned to check those pits, and
25 that's why we were told to stay overnight in Srebrenica the night of the
1 11th. Nothing much was happening that I could see. However, Pelemis and
2 individuals from Vlasenica were not there with us. They showed up later.
3 Q. When did Pelemis show back up?
4 A. Pelemis appeared early in the evening. He didn't stay long. He
5 just said that we split into two groups, to stay in two different houses,
6 and the next day we would go to check that mine. And then he left with
7 his driver. His driver and he did not spend the night in Srebrenica.
8 There was only with us the commander of the Vlasenica platoon and the
9 commander of the Bijeljina platoon.
10 Q. So did you spend the night in those two houses?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. And just briefly describe what you did the next day, very briefly,
13 if you could.
14 A. The next day, nothing happened. We just waited for Pelemis to
15 come the next day so that we can go and check those pits. However, when
16 Pelemis did come, we were told that we were not going to do that, after
17 all, that we were going back to Vlasenica instead.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: I hate to interrupt you, Mr. McCloskey, but since
19 we've moved now to the 12th, I would like to know from the witness whether
20 at any time during the 11th, while he and his platoon are there in
21 Srebrenica in the centre of town, whether they could see any inhabitants
22 of Srebrenica around or was it a ghost town at the time?
23 MR. McCLOSKEY: Yes.
24 Q. Could you describe any -- could you answer the Judge's question?
25 Did you see any Muslims, any civilians, aside -- you've described briefly,
1 but could you give us more information on what you would have seen or not
2 seen related to civilians?
3 A. The only civilians I saw were those who came out of their homes
4 when we called to them. Perhaps 200 persons. Those were the only
5 civilians I saw in Srebrenica, including that civilian who was killed.
6 They were the only ones that I saw. I didn't see any more civilians until
7 that thing that happened at Branjevo Farm on the 16th.
8 Later on, when I came to The Hague, I was shown videotapes, and
9 only then did I realise that there had been civilians in Potocari, because
10 I didn't know that area well at all, I didn't know that place was called
12 Q. Okay. Can you tell us about roughly how many civilians came out
13 of buildings, as you've described, and that you sent up towards the soccer
14 field on the other end of town?
15 A. Well, I think I just said a moment ago that it was around 200
17 Q. So that evening, when you were staying in the two buildings, did
18 any Muslims come by or did you see any Muslims on the street, anything
19 like that?
20 A. No, we didn't see any civilians at all. Nobody even talked about
22 Q. All right. And I think I'll now ask you to -- you've seen, over
23 the years, video and photographs. I want to go over some what were
24 photographs from the Krstic exhibits that you had identified. And the
25 first one, if we could have 65 ter 1966.
1 Now, these were from the Krstic trial, and so their quality is
2 perhaps a little different than the quality that we've seen on the video,
3 but have you had a chance yesterday to actually see the video that these
4 stills were taken from to help your recollection and your confirmation of
5 these stills?
6 A. Stills? Yes.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Before he answers the question, Witness, do you
8 understand English?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Anyway, it doesn't really make a difference, but
11 before we show him these stills, I understand that at least one of these
12 stills has got some yellow markings on it.
13 MR. McCLOSKEY: Yes. The first one has a yellow dot, but I don't
14 think it really gives anything away or -- and it's something he's talked
15 about before in the other trial.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Any objections on the part of the Defence teams?
17 We hear none. Okay, then we can proceed. Thank you.
18 MR. McCLOSKEY: Thank you, Mr. President.
19 Okay. We now see this photograph.
20 Q. Do you recognise the fellow with the -- well, it's obviously
21 been -- we put on that yellow dot years ago. Do you recognise that
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. And do you know what unit he's from?
25 A. Yes. He was from my unit, the 10th Sabotage Detachment, but he
1 was in the Vlasenica platoon. I know his nickname, Cico. He would
2 sometimes serve as the driver to our commander, Milomir Pelemis.
3 Q. All right. Let's go to the next one, 65 ter 1979.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Before we do so, the gear that he's wearing there,
5 the camouflage trousers and a kind of a T-shirt or vest, was that part of
6 the uniform of the Vlasenica platoon or is he wearing casual -- partly
7 casual clothes?
8 A. Well, first of all, from what I can remember, he never went on
9 missions, he never went into action. He was always in the rear, and he
10 was always dressed like that. And that's how he was dressed when he
11 served as a driver to the commander of our detachment.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
13 Yes, go ahead, Mr. McCloskey.
14 MR. McCLOSKEY: Thank you, Mr. President.
15 Q. Those camouflage pants that he's wearing, are those like the
16 camouflage pants you would have worn in your camo gear that you described?
17 A. Those uniforms were mostly in the Vlasenica platoon. It comes
18 from the Greek army, and the Vlasenica platoon had most of them.
19 Q. All right. Do you see that helmet he's got in his left hand? Did
20 you get a better look at that helmet in another picture from the video?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Do you know where that helmet came from?
23 A. It's a helmet from the UN soldiers. It had been taken from one
24 armoured vehicle that Cico and some other men from our unit appropriated
25 for our unit.
1 Q. All right. Let's go to the next photograph, 65 ter 1979.
2 Now, we see a UN vehicle off the side of the road and an
3 individual. Before I ask you about the individual, do you know if you
4 were on this particular road or was that not a place that you guys went,
5 if you can tell at all where this road is?
6 A. To be quite honest, this place does not mean anything to me. I
7 don't recognize it.
8 Q. So you never would have gone by this UN vehicle that's stuck on
9 the side of the road?
10 A. I can't remember passing by. I did pass by the UN base that was
11 located on the south side, but I didn't see a single vehicle.
12 Q. All right. Now, let me ask you about this man again who has a
13 yellow dot that's been put on the photograph. Do you recognise the man in
14 this picture?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And who is he?
17 A. He was the radio operator in our unit, but he belonged to the
18 Vlasenica platoon. I know him by nickname. I don't know his real name.
19 Q. What's his nickname?
20 A. Bujo.
21 Q. Now, the uniform he's wearing, can you tell us about that?
22 A. That uniform belonged to our unit. It was the black one. And if
23 I may just say, on the left arm he's wearing the insignia of our unit. I
24 believe that's the one, because it's white.
25 Q. All right. I know that's not a great picture of the insignia, but
1 can you just describe -- just describe the insignia, if you can. What's
2 it of?
3 A. All I can remember is that it was written on it "10th Sabotage
4 Detachment," and there was a white eagle. I cannot be sure now. It's
5 been a long time since I last saw it.
6 Q. Okay. Let's go to the next one, 1978. Now, this is not a great
7 quality, but having seen the video and seeing this shot, can you give us
8 any help on who these people are?
9 A. The person who is closer to the UN armoured vehicle, it's my
10 assumption, but I saw the photograph and I know that it is Cico, and the
11 other one is also a signalsman who served with the Vlasenica platoon, but
12 I cannot remember his name, nor even his nickname.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's try to clarify this. The guy who is wearing
14 what appears to be a blue helmet, who -- is that Cico?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
17 MR. McCLOSKEY: Okay. Let's go to the next shot, 65 ter 1977.
18 Q. This man in the forefront with the rifle stock in his back, do you
19 recognise that person?
20 A. Yes. That's a person from the Vlasenica platoon. His name is
21 Zoran Stupar. He was logistics man in the Vlasenica platoon.
22 Q. All right. Let's go to the next one, 65 ter 1980. This will be a
23 photograph where three men are numbered in yellow, 1, 2, 3, that you have
24 previously identified. I'll ask you, if you can by number, if you can
25 recall, who they were.
1 A. Number 1 is Bujo, the signalsman in our unit, from the Vlasenica
2 platoon. Number 2 was also a signalsman with our unit, also from the
3 Vlasenica platoon. Number 3, from what I can remember, is Cico, who was
4 also in our unit. He served as a driver to our detachment commander,
5 and "Cico" was his nickname.
6 Q. Number 2, had you seen him in the previous -- in one of the
7 previous photographs?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Is he the person whose name you didn't know that was standing next
10 to the person with the blue helmet?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Okay. Let's go to 65 ter 1981.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment before you do so. We have seen a
14 sequence of photos in which this Cico sometimes appearing either carrying
15 or wearing a blue helmet, other times not. The witness said that he
16 recalls this Cico having procured such helmet or helmets. Can he tell us
17 whether the procurement of such helmets occurred before this instance or
19 MR. McCLOSKEY: Yes.
20 Q. Do you know anything about how he procured -- how he got this
22 JUDGE AGIUS: In other words, would he have had it before this
23 occasion already?
24 A. I don't know where this is, which place this is where this is
25 happening, but I assume that he most probably found the helmet in the
2 MR. McCLOSKEY: Mr. President, we can play this segment of the
3 video - it's lined up - if you would like. It may make more sense, but it
4 would take some time. I don't know if you want to see it or not.
5 [Trial Chamber confers]
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Go ahead. For the time being, let's proceed. Thank
8 MR. McCLOSKEY: All right. I think I'd called up 65 ter 1981.
9 Q. Okay. Now, we see three people in what appear to be black
10 uniforms, numbered 1, 2, 3. Number 1, do you know who that is?
11 A. Yes. That's a person from my unit. He belonged to the Bijeljina
13 Q. Do you recall his name?
14 A. Yes, Velimir Popovic.
15 Q. And number 2, he is a member of your unit?
16 A. Yes. He belonged to the Vlasenica platoon.
17 Q. Now, you have never given us his name; is that correct?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. And can you tell us briefly why?
20 A. Because that person is quite -- how can I explain it? That person
21 did not take part in anything that was not permitted, and because above
22 all, he was very pleasant to me.
23 Q. All right. Well, I won't go any further than that.
24 Number 3, do you know who that was?
25 A. Number 3, yes, that's a person from my unit. He was in the
1 Bijeljina platoon. His name is Stanko Savanovic.
2 Q. Now, the person on the far left in the camouflage uniform, at the
3 time did you ever see that person around Srebrenica at all?
4 A. No. Now I know it's General Krstic. I even testified in his
5 case. But I emphasise that I didn't have any contacts with that person.
6 Q. All right. Well, now I don't have any more of those photographs.
7 Let's go to the 12th. And I think you talked briefly about it. Can you
8 take up where you left off? What happened on the 12th?
9 A. As I already said, when Pelemis, the commander of our detachment,
10 returned to Srebrenica, he said that the mine does not need to be
11 searched, that we should pack and go back to Vlasenica, which is what we
12 did. I cannot remember exactly when we started to go back to Vlasenica,
13 but I know that we went via a surface mine in Milici, taking a road
14 through the woods.
15 Q. Did you get anywhere near Potocari on your way towards Milici and
17 A. No.
18 Q. And did you learn about anything happening to anyone on the 12th?
19 Was there some sort of accident?
20 A. The vehicle that I was in, on the way from Srebrenica to
21 Vlasenica, broke down, so that we stayed behind for a few hours. I can't
22 remember how long, but we stayed behind for a long time until the vehicle
23 was fixed. And then when we got to Vlasenica, we found out that the UN
24 transporter had overturned, and it was driven by the commander of our
25 unit, Pelemis, and that one of the soldiers perished. This was not far
1 from the Vlasenica base, which was in the Dragasevac Place. It's on the
2 road from Vlasenica towards Kladanj.
3 Q. What was the name of this soldier that died in the accident?
4 A. Dragan Kolibrat.
5 Q. Had he been one of the soldiers involved in the Srebrenica
6 operation with you?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. And did you receive -- what was your next assignment that you
9 received after getting back to the base at Vlasenica?
10 A. When we came back to Vlasenica, we heard what happened to
11 Kolibrat, Dragan, and then in the morning -- actually, in the night, we
12 didn't know anything about that was happening, and then when we got up in
13 the morning on the 13th, Dragan Kolibrat, who was from the Bijeljina
14 platoon, and then in the morning the logistics guys from the Vlasenica
15 platoon, I think it was Zoran Stupar who came and said that I and a few
16 other people should go to the funeral in Trebinje.
17 Q. And where is Trebinje from Vlasenica?
18 A. Trebinje is to the south. It's close to the Republic of Croatia,
19 near the town of Dubrovnik.
20 Q. And can you briefly describe that trip, who you went with, when
21 you went, how long you stayed?
22 A. We went on the 13th. If the situation was quiet, it wouldn't take
23 long to get there. However, that particular trip took much longer than it
24 would take before the war when you travelled, because we had to take a
25 detour in the mountains around Sarajevo and the roads were quite bad.
1 Q. How many of you went?
2 A. Six or seven. I can't remember exactly.
3 Q. And how long were you there?
4 A. Like I said, it took us almost all day on the 13th to get there.
5 The funeral was on the 14th. We set off late on the 14th, late at night,
6 on our return, and the journey back also took a long time, and it was
7 during the night.
8 Q. What day did you come back?
9 A. The 15th, in the early morning.
10 Q. And where did you go on the 15th?
11 A. We came to Vlasenica. We went to sleep. We were tired from the
12 trip and the funeral and everything. We didn't sleep. We were on alert,
13 practically speaking, from the 10th until the 15th.
14 Q. And what happened, if anything, on the morning of the 16th?
15 A. On the 16th, in the morning, we were in one of the rooms where the
16 beds were for resting. Brano Gojkovic came and said that I, Franc Kos,
17 Zoran Goronja should get our weapons ready and prepare to go for an
19 Q. And then what happened?
20 A. We did that, and maybe after half an hour we set off from
21 Dragasevac, our unit's base, towards Zvornik.
22 Q. How many people?
23 A. Eight.
24 Q. And can you name those people?
25 A. I, Brano Gojkovic, Zoran Svetkovic, who was driving the vehicle,
1 Marko Boskic, Golijan -- I can't remember his first name -- Zoran Goronja,
2 Franc Kos, and Stanko Savanovic.
3 Q. Who was in charge?
4 A. Brano Gojkovic.
5 Q. What was his rank, if any?
6 A. From what I know, he didn't have a rank.
7 Q. What was your rank or position at that time in the unit?
8 A. Before that, I was a corporal in the Army of Republika Srpska. I
9 was a corporal in the 10th Sabotage Detachment, and because of conflicts
10 between me and Milorad Pelemis, who was the commander of our unit, he
11 stripped me of the rank. I was actually the commander of a group in the
12 Bijeljina platoon, but at that moment I was just a regular soldier.
13 Q. And did you know who had given Brano Gojkovic the command of this
15 A. He said that Pelemis came and said to get ready, so I conclude, on
16 the basis of that, that Pelemis told Brano what needed to be done.
17 Q. Before you left on this assignment, did you see any officers like
18 Pelemis or anyone above him around Vlasenica, where you guys were staying?
19 A. That morning, Pelemis was there, but the night when we returned to
20 Vlasenica from Srebrenica, this was on the 12th at night, Major Pecanac
21 was there.
22 Q. Had -- could you tell whether or not Pelemis had been -- had any
23 kind of injury?
24 A. All I know is that he had a bandage -- plaster Band-Aid on his
25 forehead, because he had overturned in the UN armoured vehicle.
1 Q. Okay. Now, let's go back to your departure with this group of men
2 that you've named. Who was driving this vehicle?
3 A. Zoran Svetkovic was driving.
4 Q. I'm sorry, I may have asked you this, but could you describe the
5 vehicle and its colour?
6 A. It was a Volkswagen van, green in colour.
7 Q. And where did you go?
8 A. We went in the direction of Zvornik.
9 Q. And where did you first stop?
10 A. We stopped not far from the exit to Zvornik. There was some
11 buildings there. We stopped near a gate somewhere there, and then Brano
12 was the first one to go inside, and he talked with the military police who
13 were in that kind of building near this gate, and they allowed our vehicle
14 to enter.
15 Q. Okay. If we could bring up 65 ter 1915.
16 Do you recognise what's depicted on this photo?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. What is that?
19 A. These are the buildings, the compound with the buildings, where we
20 went in on that day, the 16th of July.
21 Q. All right. If we could go to the next photo, which is a bit of a
22 closer-up. It's 65 ter 1916. And I'm going to be asking him to make some
23 markings on this. There's a new piece of equipment that will allow you to
24 mark on this, this screen.
25 Looking at this photo that is up there, is that the place you're
1 talking about?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. And can you -- you said, I believe, that the vehicle, your
4 vehicle, was allowed inside the gate. Is that correct?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. And can you, roughly, remember where your vehicle parked when it
7 went inside the gate?
8 A. When we passed through the gate, we parked immediately to the
10 Q. Do you see, roughly, where you were parked on this photograph?
11 A. No. It was a little bit further off to the left.
12 Q. All right. Well, I apologise. Let's go back to the last
13 photograph, 1915.
14 Now, if you can, can you take this pen and just put a little
15 bus-like rectangle where your minivan was parked? It should leave a
17 A. [Marks]
18 Q. All right, and let's -- so did you ever get out of the vehicle
19 when it was parked there?
20 A. No. Brano came up to the vehicle, and he just told Zoran to park
21 there, and the two of them went together into this -- how can I explain
22 it? For me, it was some kind of reception area or guard house.
23 Q. Can you put GH for guardhouse just on the building where you saw
24 these guys go?
25 A. [Marks]
1 Q. And tell us what happened next, what you saw.
2 A. Not long after that, Brano and Zoran came out with a military
3 person, and from what I could see of his rank insignia on his chest, he
4 was a lieutenant-colonel. And then another two policemen, military
5 policemen, came out of the building together with him.
6 Q. Can you describe the person that you believed was a
8 A. He was quite tall, corpulent, greyish hair. His face had strong
9 features in this area, and he was wearing a uniform of the Army of
10 Republika Srpska.
11 Q. Do you remember any facial hair?
12 A. No, he didn't have a beard or a moustache.
13 Q. Do you remember any eyeglasses?
14 A. No, I cannot remember exactly, but I don't believe so.
15 Q. Okay. And you've also mentioned two military policemen came with
16 him. How do you -- how did you know that they were military policemen?
17 A. They had the insignia of the military police. I didn't see it
18 right away. I think that one of them had a white cross belt. I can't
19 remember exactly, but I think that he did have a white cross belt.
20 Q. Do you remember seeing any patch or insignia that said anything on
21 these two people that you've described as military police?
22 A. Yes, but I only saw that later. I couldn't see it there. I saw
23 it later, once they came out of the vehicles at the Branjevo Farm.
24 Q. So the persons you saw come out of vehicles at the Branjevo Farm,
25 were they the same two people you saw come out of the guardhouse?
1 A. Yes, they were the same people, plus this lieutenant-colonel was
2 with them.
3 Q. Okay. And I'm skipping ahead a bit, but what were you able to
4 make from their insignia or from their patch at that time, these people
5 you've said were the military policemen?
6 A. I could see that they were members of the military police of the
7 Drina Corps.
8 Q. What, precisely, do you remember seeing or reading?
9 A. I can recall exactly reading "military police." As for the rest,
10 I'm not 100 per cent sure.
11 Q. You have always said "Drina Corps." Do you remember why you
12 concluded Drina Corps?
13 A. First of all, because the headquarters of the Drina Corps, I
14 assumed it was in Zvornik, and that's why I always said that that was
16 Q. Okay. Let's go back to the guardhouse, when the two military
17 policemen and the lieutenant-colonel come out. Then describe to us what
19 A. They were accompanied by Brano Gojkovic and Aleksandar Cvetkovic,
20 they came out together with him. He drove our vehicle. And Brano said
21 that we were going to follow the vehicle in which these two military
22 policemen and the lieutenant-colonel were.
23 Q. Let me finish up this exhibit. I'm sorry. I of course noticed
24 that as you walked away. We need you just to date it. It's the 4th of
25 May. And put your name on this I think in the -- yeah, down in the
1 right-hand corner is fine.
2 A. The whole name or just my initials?
3 MR. McCLOSKEY: I think initials are fine.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, I think so.
5 THE WITNESS: [Marks]
6 MR. McCLOSKEY:
7 Q. All right. So tell us how it was that you left and who you
8 followed in leaving this area.
9 A. Not long after they came out of that guardhouse, the
10 lieutenant-colonel and two policemen got into an Opel Cadet car. I
11 remember the colour of the vehicle was olive-green. And Brano said we
12 would follow them, and we took the direction of Bijeljina on the
13 Zvornik-Bijeljina road.
14 Q. Do you remember, was there any grey in this colour at all? Can
15 you describe that colour a little bit more?
16 A. When I say "olive-green," that was precisely that
17 olive-green-grey, in fact, like the colour of the uniform that used to be
18 the uniform of the JNA.
19 Q. Do you remember what style car this was, how many doors it had?
20 A. I cannot remember the number of doors exactly, but it was an Opel
22 Q. All right. And who led as you left the area?
23 A. The two policemen were up front and the lieutenant-colonel in that
24 car that was ahead of us.
25 Q. Roughly how long did you stay at this little compound?
1 A. Ten, twenty minutes, I can't say exactly. Something like that.
2 Q. Do you remember roughly the time of day it was that you were
4 A. In the morning. That's all I can say. I cannot tell you the
5 exact hour.
6 Q. And where did these two vehicles go?
7 A. Well, as I said before, we took the road that leads from Zvornik
8 to Bijeljina.
9 Q. I'm sorry. I forgot to ask you one thing. While you were in that
10 van, did you hear any radio traffic over the Motorola that you remember
11 now, while you were still parked there at the compound?
12 A. Yes. We heard over the radio that the Muslims who had left
13 Srebrenica and who were in the woods surrounding Zvornik had captured some
14 police from Doboj and seized one vehicle.
15 Q. All right. So let's get back to the trip. Where did you -- where
16 did you end up stopping on this trip going towards Bijeljina?
17 A. We stopped at the farm, which in my estimate was halfway between
18 Zvornik and Bijeljina. I cannot say that this is a precise estimate, but
19 that's my estimate.
20 Q. Okay. What did you see when you got to the farm?
21 A. When we got to the farm, I could see it was a farm. I saw a
22 tractor, trailers, agricultural machinery, and there were people in
23 military uniform.
24 Q. How many?
25 A. Not many. Perhaps four, five. I don't know. They were in an
2 Q. Where was the office? Can you describe the building?
3 A. The building had one story. It was an old structure. I don't
4 know how to explain. It was a long building, and at the beginning -- at
5 one end, there was an entrance to that office, but I didn't go in.
6 Q. So did the lieutenant-colonel and the military police make it to
7 this farm with you?
8 A. Yes. They brought us there to the farm, and when we arrived, the
9 lieutenant-colonel went into that office. And everybody who was there,
10 who was there before our arrival, left, and only one person remained.
11 Q. You're talking about the men that were in the military uniforms?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. And then what happened?
14 A. Brano talked to the lieutenant-colonel, and when he came back, he
15 said -- in fact, the lieutenant-colonel came back with him, and they said
16 that in a few minutes buses would start arriving, carrying people from
18 Q. You said "they said." Do you remember which person said that
19 buses would be starting to arrive?
20 A. If I remember correctly, Brano told us, but I believe the
21 lieutenant-colonel was also involved in that talk.
22 Q. And the people in the uniforms that had previously just left, were
23 you able to make out any patches, insignia, or anything that would
24 indicate to you what unit they belonged to?
25 A. No.
1 Q. Okay. Now, when you were told by Mr. Gojkovic that people would
2 be arriving from Srebrenica in buses, what was the next thing you learned?
3 A. Well, that civilians from Srebrenica would be coming. That's what
4 he said, civilians, and that they were to be killed that day, which to
5 some of us, me included, appeared unbelievable.
6 Q. So what happened then?
7 A. There were all sorts of exchanges among us, and if -- and Brano
8 said, "If you think that they would not shoot you, give me your rifle and
9 stand in the same line with them."
10 Q. Then what happened?
11 A. Shortly after, that lieutenant-colonel and the two policemen got
12 into their car, that same Opel Cadet, and left. I believe they had not
13 yet left the farm when the bus arrived carrying people from Srebrenica.
14 Q. All right. And then what happened?
15 A. When the buses arrived, I could see that there was a driver and
16 two persons in uniform, the uniform of the VRS, who I suppose accompanied
17 the bus, and then Brano and Golijan approached the bus, talked to those
18 two policemen, and said they would bring out the people from the bus in
19 groups, that we should line up and escort those people to the site which
20 they had designated as the site where they would be executed.
21 Q. And did you follow those instructions?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. And so tell us what happened.
24 A. Well, they brought out ten persons. We were standing in a line.
25 If I remember well, the first people from that first bus were blindfolded
1 and their hands were tied behind their backs.
2 Q. And then what?
3 A. We took those people -- I can't be precise, but I believe it was
4 100, 200 metres away from the bus, and then we were ordered to shoot at
5 them. They had their backs to us.
6 Q. Who gave you the order to shoot?
7 A. Brano Gojkovic.
8 Q. How many of you were in the execution squad?
9 A. Eight.
10 Q. And what kind of weapons were you shooting with?
11 A. Automatic rifle.
12 Q. And did everyone follow that order?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And what happened after those men were killed?
15 A. Well, the same thing happened. They took people out from the bus
16 in groups, group by group, and the second group followed the first one.
17 Groups were of ten, and they were executed.
18 Q. And did you take part in all those executions at that time?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. And how long did this go on?
21 A. Well, I suppose from 10.00 a.m. until 3.00 or 4.00 p.m. I can't
22 tell you exactly.
23 Q. Did any bus drivers have to get involved in this?
24 A. Well, after several buses had come and gone, some individuals who
25 were there on the farm started drinking, and Brano had this idea that bus
1 drivers could later be witnesses and that they, too, should kill at least
2 one person each.
3 Q. So what happened after Brano's idea?
4 A. One of the bus drivers was given a rifle by Brano, and he had to
5 shoot one person.
6 Q. Did you see any other bus drivers have to shoot anybody?
7 A. No. I know only about that one.
8 Q. Was there a time when any other weapons, besides automatic rifles,
9 were used in this execution?
10 A. Yes. I can't say exactly how much time had elapsed when
11 Aleksandar Cvetkovic said that this execution is proceeding slowly and
12 that they would also start to use the M-84 machine-gun.
13 Q. That's a significantly larger-calibre hand-held machine-gun?
14 A. Yes, it is.
15 Q. Was that used to execute Muslims?
16 A. Yes. I think it was used on two groups of ten, and then a major
17 quarrel amongst us erupted because that machine-gun was a powerful weapon
18 and it just butchered those people.
19 Q. What do you mean?
20 A. Well, the people did not die. They lay on the ground and begged
21 for someone to come and kill them.
22 Q. Why wouldn't a machine-gun of that size kill them?
23 A. Well, I suppose, because I'm not an expert, it had a larger
24 gunpowder charge, and it went through the body. I don't know; I assume
25 that's it.
1 Q. All right. Did any other troops arrive that day?
2 A. Yes. Early in the afternoon, people from Bratunac came.
3 Q. Now, how did you conclude they were from Bratunac?
4 A. Because Brano said people from Bratunac would be coming. In fact,
5 he recognised people from Bratunac. And because Zoran -- sorry,
6 Aleksandar Cvetkovic recognised some among them. That's how I drew the
8 Q. How many of these men arrived?
9 A. Eight or ten.
10 Q. And how were they dressed?
11 A. Most of them were wearing uniforms of the VRS.
12 Q. Did you know what unit they were from?
13 A. No.
14 Q. Was there anything to indicate that any of these men that arrived
15 would have known any of the Muslims?
16 A. Yes. There were some of them who knew some Muslims, and some
17 abused the Muslims because they knew them, and one person I recognised on
18 a video spoke quite normally with a person who used to be the butcher in
20 Q. Okay. We'll get to that, that person that you recognised, in a
22 When you say these men abused the prisoners, can you describe that
23 in more detail? I'm sorry to take us through all that, but it's
25 A. What do you want to know? How they abused them?
1 Q. Yes. Just describe what you mean by "abuse."
2 A. Well, they beat them with their rifle-butts. Some even used some
3 metal bars they found on the farm. Kicked them, punched them, cursed
5 Q. And when did this -- the killing end at the farm that day, roughly
6 what time?
7 A. It was perhaps 3.00 or 4.00 in the afternoon. I can't remember
9 Q. Besides those men from Bratunac, and let me just ask this,
10 anything from their uniforms that you could -- give you any indication
11 where they were from, what unit?
12 A. Well, to be quite honest, I didn't feel at all like looking at
13 them to see what unit they belonged to. I wasn't interested in that
14 because something much worse was happening.
15 Q. Okay. Besides these men from Bratunac arriving, did anyone else
16 arrive that day?
17 A. Well, towards the end, that lieutenant-colonel came and the two
18 other men who had brought us to that farm in the first place.
19 Q. The ones you described as military policemen?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And at about what time did the lieutenant-colonel and the two
22 military policemen return?
23 A. In the afternoon. I don't think the last bus had been finished
24 yet, but that last bus was being done by those people from Bratunac. I
25 already said it could have been 3.00 or 4.00, so sometime around that.
1 Q. All right. I'm going to go back to the man with the bandana and
2 show you photos you've seen before.
3 If we could go to 65 ter number 1919, which is a video still.
4 All right. Now, this is not a good photograph, but did you see a
5 much clearer picture of this person when you saw the video?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Do you recognise anyone in this photograph that you saw taking
8 part in the killings at Branjevo?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. I think -- can you just take the pen, if you could, and just mark
11 an X over the person's head, just so it's absolutely clear which person
12 we're talking about?
13 A. [Marks]
14 Q. And if you could just initial and date this one as well. Again,
15 it's the 4th of May.
16 A. [Marks]
17 Q. All right. Now, let's go to the other one, which is 1918.
18 JUDGE KWON: Any idea when and where was this picture taken?
19 MR. McCLOSKEY: Yes, Your Honour. This is on -- this is Potocari,
20 as they're walking into Potocari on the 12th. It's part of the trial
22 JUDGE KWON: Thank you.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Can the witness tell us the name of the person he's
24 marked or indicated?
25 MR. McCLOSKEY:
1 Q. Do you know this person's name?
2 A. No.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay, go ahead.
4 MR. McCLOSKEY:
5 Q. Okay. Now, looking at this photograph, there's a person on the
6 far left of the screen with a bandana. Is this the same person, as far as
7 your recognition is, as the one you saw in the previous photo?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. And, again, so this was one of the men at the Branjevo Farm taking
10 part in the executions?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. And this was one of the men from -- that you've identified as
13 being from Bratunac?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. All right. I want to now go to 65 ter 1799. This is an aerial
16 image that -- I want the unmarked version, if we can. Hold on.
17 MR. McCLOSKEY: I'm sorry, I think while the witness has used the
18 marked version over the years, it's probably better that we use an
19 unmarked version for these purposes, and if we could just put this on the
21 JUDGE AGIUS: While that is being done, is there any objection
22 from any of the Defence teams on using the other photo which has markings
23 on it already and which the witness is familiar with?
24 Mr. Ostojic.
25 MR. OSTOJIC: Thank you, Mr. President.
1 Not with respect to specifically what you said, but we do have an
2 outstanding objection with respect to the markings on the photograph on
3 the top identifying specifically, and that issue still hasn't been
4 resolved as to who put that on the photograph. But with this witness, I
5 don't think it's necessary to repeat that objection.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. And in relation to the other issue that
7 Mr. Ostojic has raised, I think it's high time you come back with a
8 stipulation or an agreement so that we can have the evidence of Mr. Ruez
9 as soon as possible.
10 Thank you.
11 MR. McCLOSKEY: I think there's so many markings on that one with
12 the yellow, it might be just easier --
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Up to you, Mr. McCloskey. I'm not going to
14 interfere in that.
15 MR. McCLOSKEY: If we can just -- let's try with the ELMO, and if
16 we could zero in on that just a little bit more. Okay, that's fine.
17 Q. Do you recognise this -- well, this place, first of all?
18 A. I do, but this is an aerial photograph, so -- but I do recognise
19 the place, yes.
20 Q. If you think you can, could you -- she'll give you a pen, and I
21 think we can mark right on this, right on this photograph. Can you mark
22 the area where the first bus with Muslims in it pulled up?
23 A. What kind of a mark should I make?
24 Q. If you can, just a rectangular, like a bus as if, you know, we
25 were putting it there. I know it's hard to get the scale, but ...
1 A. [Marks]
2 JUDGE AGIUS: And if he could mark 1B on top of that line, please.
3 A. [Marks]
4 MR. McCLOSKEY:
5 Q. Okay. The other buses that arrived throughout the day, did they
6 park in roughly the same place?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. And can you -- if you can tell, can you mark with an X where the
9 first group of prisoners were taken to be shot?
10 And I think we need -- we may need to pull out a bit from this
11 close-up shot. Okay, okay.
12 A. [Marks]
13 Q. All right. You've made an X there. And you've described a
14 building where soldiers were -- the lieutenant-colonel went in. Can you
15 make out from this shot which building that was? Only if you can.
16 A. [Marks]
17 JUDGE AGIUS: Could he put an O next to that line, please, or just
19 A. [Marks]
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay, thank you.
21 MR. McCLOSKEY: And I think if we can just get an initial and a
22 date, it's break time.
23 A. [Marks]
24 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, Mr. McCloskey.
25 We'll have a 25-minute break starting from now. Thank you.
1 --- Recess taken at 12.32 p.m.
2 --- On resuming at 1.01 p.m.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. McCloskey.
4 MR. McCLOSKEY: Thank you, Mr. President.
5 If we could bring up 65 ter 2804.
6 Q. Mr. Erdemovic, you may recall yesterday we spoke briefly of
7 insignias, VRS insignias, and I showed you a grouping of three insignias
8 that had just been pulled up from the internet, and you -- do you recall
9 identifying those insignias for us?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. All right. And you saw our -- the interpreter wrote your answers
12 to the questions relating to these insignias; is that correct?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Can you start with -- first of all, do you recognise those
15 insignias on this document?
16 A. Yes. I just asked that the smaller insignia above the little
17 plaques be crossed out.
18 Q. Okay. And why was that?
19 A. Because I wasn't sure. I know that these were small metal
20 plaques, and I know the first one is major, the second one is
21 lieutenant-colonel and the third one is colonel, but the insignia above, I
22 was not familiar with. But then later I tried to see in a photo, and I
23 could see that generals used these insignia.
24 Q. So as far as you know, those circular things above these ranks
25 were not used at the time in July, 1995 for these ranks?
1 A. No. What I know is that on the 16th, in the morning, when you
2 asked me, "How could you tell he was a lieutenant-colonel," I answered
3 that there was this insignia in the middle indicating that he was a
5 Q. Where was the insignia that you saw on this lieutenant-colonel?
6 A. It was on his left side, on the military blouse, shirt he was
7 wearing that day.
8 Q. All right.
9 A. On the pocket.
10 Q. All right. And to be clear, there was no little, round insignia
11 that you saw on his shirt at the time; that's why there's an X through
12 this particular one; is that right?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. All right. And I'm going to jump out of time just to finish the
15 exhibits. There are some still photographs, 65 ter 1975, and these are
16 stills taken from the video of a ceremony in Vlasenica, the Court may
17 remember. It's 65 ter 2034. And if you could just look at these stills
19 Now, we see on this exhibit four photographs. Do you recognise
20 anyone or any members of the 10th Sabotage Detachment in any of those four
22 A. Yes. On A, B and C, I recognise -- I recognise persons from the
23 10th Sabotage Detachment.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: Which platoon, the Bijeljina or the Vlasenica one?
25 A. Soldiers from both platoons are there, from Bijeljina and
2 MR. McCLOSKEY:
3 Q. Do you recall being at a ceremony where people were standing like
4 this, I believe, in the late 1995?
5 A. No. We went there, I myself and some other people from Bijeljina.
6 Q. All right. So let's go back --
7 JUDGE PROST: Sorry, Mr. McCloskey. Just before you showed those
8 photos, you mentioned two 65 ter numbers, and I just wanted to confirm
9 which one that was. You said 1975 and then you said 2034.
10 MR. McCLOSKEY: Yes. 1975 are the stills, and they were taken
11 from this video of 2034.
12 JUDGE PROST: Okay, thank you.
13 MR. McCLOSKEY:
14 Q. Okay. Let's go back briefly to the Branjevo Farm, and I believe
15 you said at the end of -- near the end of the day, the lieutenant-colonel
16 returned. Can you tell us what happened when the lieutenant-colonel
17 returned with the two military policemen?
18 A. When he returned, he immediately started saying that in Pilica
19 there is a cultural hall, Dom Kulture, and that there were 500 people
20 there from Srebrenica who were trying to break down the door and who were
21 trying to escape from there, and he said that we needed to go there and
22 execute those people. I, however, and some other people from my unit
23 refused to do that, but the people that came from Bratunac that day, they
24 went with the lieutenant-colonel and the two policemen.
25 Q. And do you remember what vehicles they left in?
1 A. I think that it was the same vehicle that the lieutenant-colonel
2 came in, the Opel Cadet. I'm not sure, though. The people from Bratunac
3 came in a Tam, T-a-m, van, I think, but I'm not quite sure.
4 Q. And when that group left the farm, what did your group do?
5 A. Nothing. We prepared our weapons, ammunition. We put that in the
6 van. And Brano said that the lieutenant-colonel said that we were to meet
7 at the bar in Pilica, a coffee bar in Pilica.
8 Q. How many Muslim men do you estimate were killed that day at the
9 Branjevo Farm?
10 A. According to my estimate, between 1.000 and 1.200.
11 Q. How do you make that estimate?
12 A. Based on what I already told you. I'm not quite sure, but it was
13 based on the buses that were arriving. That's how I was able to come to a
14 conclusion. I don't know exactly.
15 Q. Do you have a rough number of buses that you recall?
16 A. I don't know exactly, but in my previous testimony and also in my
17 case as well, from 15 to 20, but no one can know how many exactly and
19 Q. All right. And did you go to Pilica with your group?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And do you know roughly what time of day it is that you finally
22 leave that farm and go over to Pilica?
23 A. It was after noon, maybe 3.00, 4.00, 4.00.
24 Q. And when you drove into the area of Pilica, tell us what you saw.
25 A. When we arrived in front of the coffee bar in Pilica, across the
1 road from the coffee bar was the cultural hall, and between the cultural
2 hall and the coffee bar, the road linking Zvornik and Bijeljina passed,
3 and you could see several bodies. I don't know for sure how many, but
4 there were bodies in front of the cultural hall.
5 Q. And where did you go?
6 A. We went where Brano told us that the lieutenant-colonel was
7 supposed to come to meet us. We went to the coffee bar.
8 Q. And what did you see?
9 A. How do you mean, what did we see? In the bar or what I saw of
10 what was happening?
11 Q. Just tell us what you saw, you know, everywhere. Just tell us
12 what you saw as it was happening both in the bar or elsewhere.
13 A. Like I already said, it was possible to see from the road where we
14 turned off to go to the coffee bar, and just there was the cultural hall,
15 and you could see bodies in front of the cultural hall already.
16 Also, there was a check-point of the civilian police of Republika
17 Srpska there. Vehicles were passing normally there. There was civilian
18 houses around. There were people. You could hear firing and explosions
19 from the direction of the hall. There were no people in the coffee bar.
20 It was empty. Just the people who worked there.
21 Q. At the police check-point, did you see any civilian police
23 A. No. They did not wear civilian clothing, but they were in blue
24 camouflage uniforms, which I knew was a uniform of the Republika Srpska
1 Q. And can you tell us how many of these MUP in blue uniforms you
3 A. I cannot remember exactly, but I think two or three policemen.
4 Q. Do you recall if they were armed with any weapons?
5 A. Yes. They had automatic rifles and pistols, from what I can
7 Q. You said you could hear shooting and explosions from the direction
8 of the cultural centre. Did you see any soldiers around the cultural
9 centre, outside the cultural centre?
10 A. At that point, I didn't see the main entrance to the cultural
11 centre, I couldn't, but the side entrance was where I could see the bodies
12 lying around. I don't recall seeing soldiers around the bodies, but I did
13 hear shooting and explosions.
14 Q. And did you go into the coffee bar?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And tell us what happened in the coffee bar, who you saw, or just
17 continue to --
18 A. Nothing happened. When you entered the coffee bar, to the right
19 there was a small room. That's where Brano -- and I can't remember who
20 else, but I know Brano went in, and Franc Kos and I sat -- immediately as
21 you come in to the left, we sat near the door, and they went over there
22 and they talked with the lieutenant-colonel. Not long after that, this
23 person from Bratunac came, the one that I recognised on the photographs
24 here today, that I indicated on the photographs, and he said that
25 everything was finished.
1 Q. You're talking about the person with the bandana on his head?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. And who, if anyone, did he say, "Everything is finished," to?
4 A. He said it. I mean, we could all hear it. I assume that he was
5 addressing the lieutenant-colonel.
6 Q. What was the lieutenant-colonel doing?
7 A. Nothing. He was sitting there and talking with Brano and the
8 other people. I think they were drinking Sljivovica. I don't know
9 exactly. I think so. And finally at the end, when we were already
10 supposed to leave, because some people wanted to go home, I remember well
11 that the lieutenant-colonel stood up and said, "Who remained alive has
12 remained alive."
13 Q. Do you know what he meant by that or why he said that?
14 A. Probably I'm thinking of what had happened that day, if somebody,
15 whoever, remained alive, remained alive. That's my opinion. I don't know
17 Q. You have been shown many photographs over the years. Some, you've
18 recognised people, as you've testified to. Have you ever seen a
19 photograph where you have recognised the lieutenant-colonel?
20 A. Once I thought I recognised him, and then after considerable
21 thought, I wasn't sure, I couldn't be sure.
22 Q. Okay. What happened after the lieutenant-colonel made this
24 A. We returned to Vlasenica, and when we arrived at the base in
25 Vlasenica, the one that was in Dragosevac, we were told that we should
1 pack and that the Bijeljina platoon was returning to Bijeljina. And
2 that's what happened.
3 MR. McCLOSKEY: I don't have any further questions, Mr. President.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you so much, Mr. McCloskey.
5 On my list, I have all the Defence teams, with the exception of
6 the Gvero Defence team, who wish to cross-examine this witness.
7 MR. JOSSE: We probably will have some questions later on, Your
9 JUDGE AGIUS: All right, thank you. So that changes the scenario
10 straightaway. And for the record, since I previously mentioned that you
11 were not here, Mr. Josse, now I put it on the record that you are present.
12 I have the Popovic Defence team who wish one hour, who would last
13 for one hour?
14 MR. ZIVANOVIC: No, Your Honours, we will not cross-examine this
15 witness at all.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay, thank you.
17 The Beara, Nikolic and Milotic and Pandurevic teams have each
18 asked for 30 minutes.
19 Mr. Ostojic?
20 MR. OSTOJIC: Thank you, Mr. President. During the break, I was
21 able to come with my learned friend from the Prosecution, and we're
22 working on a couple of stipulations for the Court and for this case. I'd
23 rather not specifically identify it in front of the witness, with all due
24 respect to him.
25 I think, and I've consulted with several -- or a couple members of
1 our team, if at all possible, with the Court's indulgence, we would like
2 to perhaps start the cross-examination on Monday, and we may short circuit
3 it. We could almost promise that indeed this witness will be completed on
4 Monday, depending again, and I think we're very close to reaching this
5 stipulation with my learned friend, as I said.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Before we comment on that, is there
7 any -- thank you, Mr. Ostojic -- any other Defence team that is in a
8 position or wishes to start with the cross-examination today?
9 I still have the Borovcanin Defence team have asked for 15
11 Mr. Stojanovic.
12 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. We planned
13 for 15 minutes for caution's sake, but in view of the witness's testimony
14 today, we will not be questioning the witness.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. I thank you.
16 The Nikolic Defence team? This is going to be you or Mr. Bourgon?
17 MS. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] It will be me, Your Honours. I can
18 start with my cross-examination today, and perhaps I can even finish.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, okay. And then -- I thank you so much, Madam
21 Could you please proceed.
22 Cross-examination by Ms. Nikolic:
23 Q. [Interpretation] Good day, sir.
24 A. Good day.
25 Q. I'm going to try today, during this time that we have left, to
1 complete my cross-examination. I would just like to ask you several
2 questions about the soldier with the bandana and about the group that came
3 from Bratunac and joined you.
4 A. Very well.
5 Q. On the 16th of July, 1995, when you came to Branjevo, already then
6 you saw that man, and his face later appeared in front of the cultural
7 hall and in the coffee bar, so that you managed to actually identify him
8 even ten years later?
9 A. Not ten years later. I identified him in 1996 when I was here in
10 detention. On television, on British television, the BBC broadcast some
11 footage, and I recognised him then.
12 Q. Did you already then have information that he was a member of the
13 Panthers Unit?
14 A. No.
15 Q. Did you learn about that during meetings with the Prosecutor's
16 office in the course of 2002 and 2004, when you were being interviewed by
18 A. I recall having a conversation about the Panthers unit, and I know
19 that that unit was in Bijeljina. They were in the barracks next to ours.
20 We were in one hut and they were in the hut next to us in Bijeljina. I
21 remember that we talked about these people. I'm not sure exactly, but if
22 it says there that we did that, then I agree that we did talk about them
24 Q. Do you remember if, on the 30th of January, 2004, during one of
25 your interviews with the Prosecution, when a series of stills were shown
1 to you of Panther members other than this person, whose name I do not wish
2 to mention in public session, but perhaps the others I can mention in
3 public session since they are not connected to this witness. Gojko Simic,
4 Rajko Tomic, Miodrag Grujicic were there?
5 A. These names don't mean anything to me.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: [Previous translation continues]... your
7 microphone. Give me the last couple of lines so that I redact them,
8 please, or block transmission.
9 MS. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] I apologise to the Chamber and to
10 the witness, please. I apologise.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: [Previous translation continues]... exactly your
12 fault entirely, Ms. Nikolic, because the witness jumped straight with his
13 answer before you had even finished.
14 So, Mr. Erdemovic, it's very important that you allow a short
15 pause between question and answer, because otherwise, if there's this
16 overlapping, your voice can be heard, and we are trying to protect you as
17 much as we can. So please observe this golden rule while we proceed.
18 Yes, Madam Nikolic. Perhaps you can repeat your question.
19 Anyway, he has answered it. He says, "These names don't mean
20 anything to me." Your next question, then.
21 MS. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
22 Could the witness please be shown Defence exhibit 1D285. We have
23 the B/C/S and the English version on e-court.
24 Q. Sir, when both versions appear on the screen, could you please
25 look at the second paragraph of this document. It's a report of the
1 Prosecution with the meeting they had with you on the 30th of January, so
2 it's exhibit 1D285 of the 30th of January, 2004.
3 Let me ask you to look at paragraph 2. A sentence in the middle
5 "Of the three of them, the following is known:"
6 Read the text where these three names are mentioned. Do you
7 remember this meeting with the Prosecution?
8 A. I don't remember this document. And as I've already said, these
9 names mean nothing to me.
10 Q. I understand, but you remember the meeting and you remember that
11 certain photographs were shown to you?
12 A. I'll tell you very sincerely, I had too many meetings and I cannot
13 remember every one individually.
14 Q. Do you have any knowledge or have you ever heard that the Panther
15 unit was at that time in the area of responsibility of the Drina Corps?
16 A. I was not aware of that.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment before you proceed, Ms. Nikolic. Just
18 for clarity's sake, what we have on the screen is not a transcript of the
19 interview, but an information report, so I think you need to allow for the
20 possibility that parts of the second paragraph that you read out from
21 could be the statement of the person drawing up the information report and
22 not necessarily the statement of the witness. I don't want to call you to
23 any cause, Mr. McCloskey, but I suppose you would agree with me.
24 MR. McCLOSKEY: Yes, that's correct, and I think Ms. Nikolic
25 understands that.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Let's proceed.
2 MS. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. This is a report
3 of the investigator. Maybe I used the wrong word when I tried to describe
4 it, but it is a report of the investigator concerning a meeting with this
6 Q. I have only one question to ask of you. Did you have the
7 impression that this soldier with the bandana was, in a way, the leader of
8 that group from Bratunac?
9 A. How shall I put this? I didn't see him issue orders to the
10 others, but he was always around when something was going on. And from
11 the moment when he came up into -- to the lieutenant-colonel in the coffee
12 bar and told him that everything is finished, it was my impression.
13 Q. What I want to know is when you saw that photograph from Potocari
14 of a group of soldiers with that man in the bandana, they were on the 14th
15 and 15th, in Potocari on the 16th, in Branjevo, near the culture hall in
16 Pilica, did you know that these other men were in other locations where
17 things happened?
18 A. No, I had no knowledge of that. I didn't contact with them at
19 all, and he stuck in my mind because he wore that uniform of the US Army
20 and the bandana, and that's why I remember him but not the others.
21 Q. I just want to ask you one more question concerning the vehicle
22 that the lieutenant-colonel drove in. You testified about that today.
23 You said that it was an Opel Cadet vehicle. On the 6th of November, 1996,
24 the same question was asked of you, and I will, if you don't mind, read
25 that passage from the interview to refresh your memory.
1 You were asked:
2 "What kind of vehicle did the lieutenant-colonel drive?"
3 You answered:
4 "I told you that Opel --"
5 THE INTERPRETER: Could counsel please slow down.
6 MS. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] I apologise. I will have to repeat
7 the question. In fact, I will read that text more slowly.
8 Q. After the question about the vehicle, your answer was:
9 "As for the type, I told you Cadet, the shorter one with a cut-off
11 Your answer was as I just read. The next question asked of you by
12 Jean Rene Ruez is like this:
13 "Coupe, what colour?"
14 And you answered:
15 "Kind of dirty-brownish colour like this bin over here."
16 Did this refresh your memory?
17 A. Yes. The first thing I said was "Cadet," but that vehicle, when
18 it first appeared in the former Yugoslavia, everybody called it Suza,
19 which means tear, because it had the shape of a tear. I remember that,
20 and I remember pointing at the waste bin that was in the room where I was
21 being questioned, and I meant the drab olive-green-grey colour.
22 Q. And the model was coupe?
23 A. Yes, Opel Cadet.
24 MS. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours. Thank
25 you, sir. I have no further question.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: I don't know if it's worth the while of starting
2 another cross-examination, but let me conclude the exercise first.
3 So from Mr. Ostojic, we've heard. Ms. Nikolic has concluded
4 hers. Madame Fauveau, will you be cross-examining this witness? How much
5 time would you require?
6 Mr. Petrusic.
7 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, we had envisaged 30
8 minutes, but in view of the testimony of this witness so far, we will take
9 less. We can start, maybe we can even finish, but I cannot be sure that
10 we will finish before the end of this day. I have just about ten
11 questions, but the length also depends on the answers. It is not certain
12 that I will finish.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. And Mr. Haynes or Mr. Sarapa? I don't
14 know who will be cross-examining this witness.
15 MR. HAYNES: I think it's unlikely we'll have any
16 cross-examination for this witness, but I welcome the opportunity of
17 reflecting upon that position.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay, thank you.
19 So, Mr. Petrusic, I suggest you start.
20 Mr. Josse already said that he will be cross-examining, probably,
21 but I don't know whether he wishes to do so today or Monday.
22 MR. JOSSE: Mr. Krgovic, in fact, is going to do the
23 cross-examination for our team. Fifteen minutes, he tells me.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, 15 minutes is too much for today. So I
25 suggest, Mr. Petrusic, you could start now and see where we get or how far
1 we get, and then you'll continue on Monday.
2 Cross-examination by Mr. Petrusic:
3 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Erdemovic, I appear here for General Miletic
4 in this case, and as I said, I will have only a couple of questions for
6 Towards the end of 1993, do you know that in the Territory of the
7 Federation, that is, in the place where you lived, Tuzla, armed conflict
8 was ongoing between the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Croatian
9 Defence Council, the HVO?
10 A. End 1993, that's when I moved to Republika Srpska, in November
11 1993, and I cannot say that there was fighting, but the relations between
12 the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the HVO were very tense. However,
13 conflict had already started in central Bosnia, as far as I know.
14 Q. In that tense situation, you were arrested by the Croatian Defence
15 Council as you were trying to transport some Serb civilians to the
16 territory of Republika Srpska?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. You told us today that you were first captured -- or rather you
19 were first kept in detention by the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and
20 then, I quote: "I was moved to a prison held by the HVO."
21 A. I will try to explain the sequence.
22 I was captured on Mount Majevica by the HVO. They took me and one
23 of my colleagues who was accompanying me. They just captured us and held
24 us overnight in their command headquarters, which was on Mount Majevica.
25 And if I remember well, they got orders from the headquarters in Tuzla
1 that the HVO should turn us over for interrogation to the Army of Bosnia
2 and Herzegovina.
3 Q. So that coincided with the time when, to say the least, there was
4 pronounced tension between the HVO and the BH Army, if not open conflict?
5 A. That's -- that's about it, yes. You could put it that way.
6 Q. From what I understand of positions in Majevica, they were held by
7 the HVO at the time.
8 A. Yes, in one part of Mount Majevica, not all of it.
9 Q. Mr. Erdemovic, I would now like to move to your involvement in the
10 segment referred to as Srebrenica and your arrival in the area.
11 Those two platoons that arrived, one from Bijeljina and another
12 from Vlasenica, had in total between 30 and 40 men?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. You have explained that you had four types of uniform. On that
15 day you came to Bijeljina and on to Bratunac and Srebrenica in a black
16 camouflage uniform. What about the rest of the men, the 30 or 40 of them,
17 did they come in the same uniform?
18 A. No. Most of us wore black uniforms, but many others, I cannot
19 tell you exactly how many -- how do I say it? In uniforms of the VRS, and
20 one person that I showed you on the picture, Stanko Savanovic, wore a
21 uniform that we called NATO uniform. It was predominantly the US Army
23 Q. If I am not mistaken, you designated Stanko Savanovic with number
24 2 on the photograph shown you by the Prosecutor on 1981. Is he the one
25 you said had an American uniform?
1 A. No. The person I claim is Stanko Savanovic is number 3.
2 JUDGE KWON: It was number 3. I confirm.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: I think we have to stop here for today,
4 Mr. Petrusic, because it's past the hour.
5 And we will reconvene Monday at 9.00 in the morning.
6 Mr. Erdemovic, between now and Monday, you are not to discuss or
7 allow anyone to discuss with you the substance of what you are testifying
8 about. Is that clear? I think you should be familiar with this rule.
9 And you are required to observe it to the maximum.
10 THE WITNESS: Yes, I understand.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
12 Have a nice weekend, everyone.
13 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1:46 p.m.,
14 to be reconvened on Monday, the 7th day of May,
15 2007, at 9.00 a.m.